Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2018 Jun;118(6):1153-1167.
doi: 10.1007/s00421-018-3845-8. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

Effects of Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training in a Community Setting: A Pilot Study

Randomized Controlled Trial

Effects of Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training in a Community Setting: A Pilot Study

Dejan Reljic et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. .


Purpose: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is emerging as an effective and time-efficient exercise strategy for health promotion. However, most HIIT studies are conducted in laboratory settings and evidence regarding the efficacy of time-efficient "low-volume" HIIT is based mainly on demanding "all-out" protocols. Thus, the aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of two low-volume (≤ 30 min time-effort/week), non-all-out HIIT protocols, performed 2 ×/week over 8 weeks in a community-based fitness centre.

Methods: Thirty-four sedentary men and women were randomised to either 2 × 4-min HIIT (2 × 4-HIIT) or 5 × 1-min HIIT (5 × 1-HIIT) at 85-95% maximal heart rate (HRmax), or an active control group performing moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT, 76 min/week) at 65-75% HRmax.

Results: The exercise protocols were well tolerated and no adverse events occurred. 2 × 4-HIIT and 5 × 1-HIIT exhibited lower dropout rates (17 and 8 vs. 30%) than MICT. All training modes improved VO2max (2 × 4-HIIT: + 20%, P < 0.01; 5 × 1-HIIT: + 27%, P < 0.001; MICT: + 16%, P < 0.05), but the HIIT protocols required 60% less time commitment. Both HIIT protocols and MICT had positive impact on cholesterol profiles. Only 5 × 1-HIIT significantly improved waist circumference (P < 0.05) and subjective work ability (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The present study indicates that low-volume HIIT can be feasibly implemented in a community-based setting. Moreover, our data suggest that practical (non-all-out) HIIT that requires as little as 30 min/week, either performed as 2 × 4-HIIT or 5 × 1-HIIT, may induce significant improvements in VO2max and cardiometabolic risk markers.

Keywords: Cardiometabolic health; Cardiorespiratory fitness; Feasibility; HIIT; Real-world setting; Time-efficient exercise.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 articles


    1. Clin Chem. 1972 Jun;18(6):499-502 - PubMed
    1. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Dec;29(12):3326-35 - PubMed
    1. Nutr Res. 2012 Jul;32(7):479-85 - PubMed
    1. Gesundheitswesen. 2018 Jan;80(1):79-86 - PubMed
    1. J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2015 Apr;37(2):138-49 - PubMed

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources